There’s no getting away from it – most cities have switched on their Christmas lights and the high street is decked out in tinsel – Christmas is well and truly upon us! If you haven’t started shopping, it’s really important to get your budget in place now.
If you’re paid early in December, will you appreciate getting this cash? Or can it actually cause more problems?
Stretching your finances
An early payday this December means you can get all the shopping done – any last-minute presents and the big food shop. But remember that if you usually get paid monthly, this means you now won’t get paid until the end of January.
Make sure you avoid bank charges or bounced payments by checking that all of your bills and payments can be covered until your next wage comes in. It’s likely many of us will feel pinch by the time January kicks in. Just make sure you stay on track by prioritising your outgoings and finding ways to make the cash stretch a bit farther.
If you’re paying several bills, you should already have a comprehensive budget plan in place to keep you on track every month. But with the bigger gap until you get paid, you might have to make some cut backs to get you through. Prioritise your rent, mortgage, utilities and mobile phone contract along with any credit card payments. Once these are covered, decide how to spread your money out to cover the rest of Christmas. Here are some tips on how to do this.
• Don’t rush to buy all of your presents at once. Stagger it to get the best prices and look online and in stores to see where it’s cheapest. Keep an eye out for offers, sales and reductions.
• Sign up to voucher schemes and newsletters to find out when stores are having sales and offers.
• Use up any loyalty scheme freebies and points you’ve built up the last year to get discounts in shops and restaurants.
• Buy groceries when they’re on offer and stock up your freezer – just be sure not to waste food.
• Go through the house, tidy the cupboards and get winter ready.
• Sell things on eBay you don’t want for extra cash. This can also help you decide on gift ideas, as you’ll see what your family have and need.
Manage your money
If you’re a thinkmoney Personal Account customer, we already help you budget by ensuring that you have enough held back to cover bills and regular outgoings. This means you’ll know what’s left over and what you have to spend with the peace of mind that all necessities are covered.
You won’t have to worry about rejigging budgets to make sure bills are covered, because it’s done for you. If you’re interested in managing your money in this way, you can find out more about the thinkmoney Personal Account. There is a monthly management fee for this account – it’s £17.50 for a single account or £24.50 for a joint account.